Plantic Technologies Limited, the Australian company that developed and commercialised a revolutionary biodegradable plastic that dissolves on contact with water, has received an R&D Start Grant for A$1.73 million to develop second generation products and a Food Innovation Grant for A$842,000. The grants are awarded by the Commonwealth Government.
The three-year R&D Start grant will allow Plantic to extend the properties of its corn starch-based biopolymer, Plantic®, to develop a high performance biodegradable film for use in the consumer food and beverage industry. This will include the development of production, printing and sealing systems to make the product compatible with current packaging systems used in the food industry.
The new technology will be applied to the manufacture of food and confectionery overwrap packaging.
Plantic Technologies has concentrated on developing and commercialising its range of trays for packaging dry goods such as biscuits and chocolates. Today, less than three years since the company was founded, Plantic® trays are being used by companies around the world, including Cadbury Schweppes and Freedom Foods.
"Companies involved in food manufacturing and packaging are increasingly responding to the wishes of both the community and industry by seeking environmentally sustainable solutions. The first and second generation Plantic® materials will make their task easier," said CEO of Plantic, David MacInnes.
"One of the problems with existing packaging is that a biodegradable and environmentally friendly tray is often wrapped with traditional petrochemical based plastic. This R&D Start grant will help us to develop Plantic® as the total packaging solution."
Plantic Technologies in conjunction with Penford Australia, a shareholder and supplier of the corn starch used in the production of Plantic® material, also received a three-year A$842,000 Food Innovation Grant. The companies will use the funds to start work on a second generation product with improved water resistance.
The functionality of the current Plantic® biopolymer in some applications is limited by its very high water sensitivity. Plantic Technologies recognises the need to make Plantic® material more resistant to moisture in order to extend the company’s range beyond dry goods packaging.